Last week, I had the pleasure of joining with many others in AILA's National Day of Advocacy in Washington, DC. We met with various members of the Arizona Delegation to Congress, or their staffers, lobbying for, you guessed it, immigration reform. I also went last year. The difference in the conversation between last year's lobbying for immigration reform and this year was so distinct, you'd think we were talking to totally different politicians. Yet, for the most part, these were the same people.
Why the change? Clearly, the electoral results from the Presidential election which saw the GOP on the wrong end of a 70/30 split with Hispanic and Asian voters had to feel like a punch in the gut for them. Many in the GOP have begun to realize that immigration reform makes good political sense. Hopefully they'll also see that immigration reform makes good fiscal and national security sense as well.
Well, the Gang of Eight has come up with their bipartisan immigration proposal. Nobody will be totally happy about this compromise bill. Many aspects of it may very well be amended or eliminated during this lawmaking process. Obviously, it might not even pass the Senate, much less be presented to the President as a bill. However, it is a start. The apparently agreed upon procedure here is that the Senate will pass (or not pass) a bill and then the House will take it up. Per several of the staffers that we met, this reform proposal must be presented to the President no later than August 2013 or else it might be shelved, yet again. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
This marks the best chance to finally overhaul a system which just about everybody believes is not working. Let's hope they finish the job this time as opposed to just kicking the can down the street.